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Brahim Diaz, Manchester City's NxGn starlet eyed by Real Madrid

14:11 SAST 2018/11/03
Brahim Diaz
The talented Spaniard is an extremely bright prospect from City's football academy who may soon follow in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho

Manchester City boast arguably the best attacking options in world football. Riyad Mahrez, Sergio Agüero and Leroy Sane are just a few of the fearsome forwards available to Pep Guardiola, although such an embarrassment of riches can still cause issues.

One current dilemma is Brahim Diaz, the prodigious young Spaniard said to be attracting the attention of Real Madrid. The talented teenage playmaker, capped regularly by his country at youth level, has had to make do with a couple of Carabao Cup appearances this season, with reports suggesting he is preparing to seek pastures new when his current City deal expires at the end of the season.

Such a stance represents a marked change of heart from his comments in the summer, when he stated his intent to eventually establish himself in the Premier League champions' first-team squad.

"I will stay – it is a luxury to learn from the best, and live alongside them," Diaz said in the summer. “I want to continue my development, be a success at City and win titles.

“I only know that I am still with City, the rest is just rumours. I am totally focused on this team. I just want to play as much as I can and keep learning. I would like to play more minutes – I am ambitious and want to stay at the club for a long time.

Likened heavily to his City teammate David Silva, Diaz is more than comfortable with both feet, able to pick a defence-splitting pass and ghost past opponents with his technique and low centre of gravity.

Much of his game seems to be inspired by that of his compatriot, but his athleticism and burst of acceleration could make him a more potent threat than City's fabled playmaker.

Lured to Manchester's youth set-up from Malaga for a nominal £200,000, the 19-year-old's performance against a full-strength Fulham side in the Carabao Cup on Thursday suggested he is more than ready for the rigours of Premier League football.

While his manager is wary of what a negative experience in senior football can do for a burgeoning starlet, he knows that City, despite their infinite riches and talent, cannot afford to see the promising young attacker follow in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho, who is going from strength-to-strength having left the Citizens for Borussia Dortmund.

"Playing in the top teams is not easy for young players, but Diaz showed his qualities again. His training is always incredible and he's really appreciated by all of us," Guardiola said.

"He played well against Oxford [United] in the previous round. Everyone here is ready to play in the first team, otherwise he wouldn't be here.

"He knows we want him, but after that it's down to his agent and himself. We will do absolutely everything to keep him with us - afterwards he decides. We want him, but at the end it doesn't depend on us."

Guardiola still has time to convince young Diaz that his future lies with Manchester City, but a player of Diaz's talent and promise certainly warrants more game-time than he is currently receiving - a host of clubs all around Europe will be more than happy to offer him just that.